Many Renaissances, many Modernities?

J.P. Nederveen Pieterse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article discusses Eurocentric history, its focus on the Renaissance and modernity, which continues also in recent global history perspectives. Goody's argument regarding renaissances in the plural situates Europe in the wider field of Eurasia and deeper in time, going back to the Bronze Age, characterized by plough agriculture, the use of animal traction and urban cultures. Goody's perspective includes viewing renascences as accelerations and leaps in the circulation of information. Since it is always the trope of the modern that marks Eurocentric claims, unpacking modernity is central to scrutinizing this construction. Goody shows that Europe is a late-comer rather than a forerunner to major strands of modernity. A wider question this account poses is: if Renaissance in the singular produces modernity in the singular, do renaissances in the plural produce modernities in the plural?.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-161
JournalTheory Culture & Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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